To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on schools of the decision to base pupil premium allocations for the 2021–22 academic year on the October 2020 school census.
28 April 2021
The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the 2021-22 financial year. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census. Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in the 2020-21 financial year, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding from £2.4 billion in 2020-21 to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals (FSM).
Separate to the pupil premium, we also intend to change the date for the Ever 6 FSM factor in the national funding formula (NFF). Without a change in dates, the Ever 6 factor in the 2022-23 NFF would be based on January 2020 census data. With the change to October, the intention is for the October 2020 census data to be used instead. This will shorten the Ever 6 funding lag in the NFF by 9 months and increase the amount of funding allocated through the Ever 6 factor in 2022-23, as FSM eligibility increased significantly between January and October last year.
In addition to this the government announced a further £302 million for a one off Recovery Premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. In this way, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts.
The department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the 2021-22 financial year in June 2021. This will provide the public with information on the specific amounts that regions, local authorities, and schools are receiving through the pupil premium for 2021-22. Data on the number of pupils who would have become eligible for the pupil premium if we had not changed the census data is not yet available.
The department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.